Written By: Catherine Wolinski
Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Biblical Times, an archaeological exhibit that opened in New York last October, continues to impress and educate those curious about the physical beginnings of Judaism and Christianity. Located in Discovery Times Square at 226 W. 44th St., the collection boasts the largest collection of ancient artifacts from Israel ever collected.
“The exhibition brings to life a fascinating period in history and vividly highlights how archaeologists and researchers piece together the past by examining and interpreting objects from daily life and ancient written documents,” says the exhibitions curator, Dr. Risa Levitt Kohn.
The main feature of the exhibition, the Dead Sea Scrolls, is an assembly of ancient religious texts found in the Holy Land, extracted from collections of the Israel National Treasures. Penned 2,000 years ago and hidden when Roman forces advanced upon Jerusalem in 70 CE, the scrolls were first found in the caves of Qumran in Israel in 1947. Now on display in New York City, the 20 scrolls (displayed 10 at a time) include four making their first public appearance.
Among the newly discovered pieces of the past are the oldest known copies of the Hebrew Bible, including pieces from the books of Psalms, Isaiah, and Deuteronomy. Additionally, they are accompanied by an authentic three-ton stone from Jerusalem’s Western Wall, believed to have fallen from the Southwest corner of the Second Temple’s outer wall during the Roman invasion. Also on display are Biblical artifacts, including remains of religious items, war weapons, stone carvings, mosaics, and everyday household accessories.
“The pots, coins, weapons, jewelry, and of course, the scrolls on display in this exhibition constitute a momentous contribution to our cultural legacy,” Dr. Kohn continued. “They teach us about the past and also about ourselves.”
The first in New York City of its size, Discovery Times Square is an exhibition center that presents educational and immersive explorations of culture and history. Previously renowned for exhibits such as Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, Leonardo Da Vinci’s Workshop, King Tut, Pompeii The Exhibit, and Harry Potter: The Exhibition, the center’s current exhibit lives up to expectations in its size and scope with over 500 artifacts from the Holy Land. Dead Sea Scrolls: Life and Faith in Biblical Times chronicles the Biblical to the Byzantine periods, offering a physical timeline of the formation of Judaism and Christianity.
The exhibition, created by the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), will run at Discovery Times Square until April 15, 2012.